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ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

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nakedadmin
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ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by nakedadmin » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:54 am

These articles suggest that CPA entry exams are a money making scheme. It basically suggesting it's like the tafe and RTO providers that suck people in who have no chance of passing and just leave them with a debt.

Fail rates are between 27% to 56% and it costs more that $6,000 in total to do the exams.
Key points:
Between 27 and 56 per cent of CPA candidates failed their professional exams in 2016
Re-enrolments of failed candidates generates around $15 million a year according to an industry observer
CPA says it is defending industry standards
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-23/c ... ms/8643100

http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/the ... ia/8644212


Personally I had no idea this was an issue. CA and IPA both had lower fail rates. But there is a similarity between what is going on here at CPA Australia and the unscrupulous RTOs that have been in the media.

Everyone can see the massive amount of spending on marketing to the youth. The opening of entry to people without a degree and with a degree in non accounting fields. A large portion of our membership base is ASA members, they won't tell us how many. This is dangerously close to an unethical conduct here. I think that heavy marketing and accepting people with little regard to their ability to pass could be seen as unethical.

We are not a for profit education company we are an accounting association!
The Naked Webmaster

passedfc
Posts: 113
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 3:14 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by passedfc » Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:10 am

The CPA program has always been the cash Cow for CPA.
It is the biggest revenue stream and cost of the program has grown massively.
As the article is saying .. open the program wider to get more in.. more reveue.. more Associate members etc etc

Time4Change
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:20 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Time4Change » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:18 am

The issue is both CPA and CA are Professional accreditation and qualification that enable you to become a qualified accountant. As we have pointed out before, there are both good and bad CPA and CA. Having members growth as a KPI is not helping and having the generation of surplus as a KPI is not helping as well, as we are generating too many CPA, with the question are they robust candidates, because with the disruption of technology, we accountants, will be moving more towards advisor and consultants, rather than data entries and crushing numbers.

Yes CPA has become more like a university model rather than having stronger screening process, which then create prestigious CPA. We will all agreed or disagree that those out of uni, should expect that CPA or CA is more at a postgrat level rather than undergrat level. That is why the PY of CA is beneficial, which I highly recommend CPA should consider. We don't need just accountant, we need high caliber and robust accountants.

chuck_meister
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Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by chuck_meister » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:54 am

It would also be worthwhile reviewing controls that confirm identity of those sitting exams.
I believe that the ABC had reported instances of cheating where others were paid to sit exams on
others behalf. When I sat the exams many years ago, your diver's licence was checked, but that
was only against your name and not against an actual photo.

Ideally to remove all chances of this, photo ID from primary identity documents should be
on hand and compared to when confirming identity.

Time4Change
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Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Time4Change » Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:06 pm

I can confirm that those have already been reviewed. Now identity check are more robust. They take your photo, you need two form of ID, when you go to the bathroom, they take your driver licence and and gave it back to you when you come back. Upon admission in the exam, photo is taken, you sign the declaration, then ID check. So it is impossible to cheat, unless you have an identical twin.
chuck_meister wrote:
Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:54 am
It would also be worthwhile reviewing controls that confirm identity of those sitting exams.
I believe that the ABC had reported instances of cheating where others were paid to sit exams on
others behalf. When I sat the exams many years ago, your diver's licence was checked, but that
was only against your name and not against an actual photo.

Ideally to remove all chances of this, photo ID from primary identity documents should be
on hand and compared to when confirming identity.

Mug
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:54 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Mug » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:46 pm

I'm an academic and CPA and frankly with the range of institutions which are now accredited and the standards at these places I would be horrified if CPA level failure rates were not increasing.

I was at a CPA academic forum earlier in the year and CPA showed us a graphic of failure rates at CPA level based on the university the candidate graduated from. Names were removed but the highest pass rate was around 87%, the lowest pass rate was about 40%.

Personally I think the issue is actually at the "university" level, particularly with full fee paying international students, accepting people into accounting programs who should just not be there, academics then being pressured to pass students who should not be passing. I've had dealings with both these institutions and the academics that work there and their standards are horrendously low.

The line in the sand needs to be drawn somewhere and would hate to think that due to the other issues CPA is facing the pressured into lowering standards to increase pass rates so not to be seen to be taking money.

Mael
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Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:15 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Mael » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:36 pm

First of I'm one of the ASA members, passed 5 exams with one left.

From my view the course difficulty is not a problem, even as a student with only a TAFE Accounting diploma and a non-accounting university degree. The foundation level exams were useful in bridging the required knowledge gap.

The issue is the high cost of the courses/exams, one does feel like the process is a profit making venture for the association. For the fees paid it would be nice to receive more than just a basic booklet and an exam paper.

Wendy Shelton
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Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:58 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Wendy Shelton » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:07 pm

nakedadmin wrote:
Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:54 am
These articles suggest that CPA entry exams are a money making scheme. It basically suggesting it's like the tafe and RTO providers that suck people in who have no chance of passing and just leave them with a debt.

Fail rates are between 27% to 56% and it costs more that $6,000 in total to do the exams.
Key points:
Between 27 and 56 per cent of CPA candidates failed their professional exams in 2016
Re-enrolments of failed candidates generates around $15 million a year according to an industry observer
CPA says it is defending industry standards
...
Personally I had no idea this was an issue. CA and IPA both had lower fail rates. But there is a similarity between what is going on here at CPA Australia and the unscrupulous RTOs that have been in the media.

Everyone can see the massive amount of spending on marketing to the youth. The opening of entry to people without a degree and with a degree in non accounting fields. A large portion of our membership base is ASA members, they won't tell us how many. ...
(sorry nakedadmin, I shortened your quote a little for brevity)

There is something odd about the numbers that doesn't make sense. Tyrone Carlin said in his AGM address "... over the past decade we have experienced a more than 40 per cent increase in CPA Program enrolments". He had been talking about the new member growth (35,000 in 3 years!) so you would expect that with all of the new members sitting exams and then a growing number of those new members having to re-sit exams, that the number of exams being taken would be escalating. But look at the kpi from p.18-19 in the CPA Australia 2016 Integrated Report:

exam kpi 2016.PNG
CPA Australia 2016 Integrated Report p.18-19.
Strategic Goal: Securing the next generation of talent
Measure: CPA Program sits
exam kpi 2016.PNG (86.35 KiB) Viewed 10042 times
CPA Program exam sits grew nearly 10% in 2014, flattened in 2015 and dropped back to nearly 2013 levels during 2016. The drop-off has occurred prior to any negative publicity created by disgruntled members. The Chairman said in his address "... we enjoy levels of engagement with future members and leaders that are the envy of many professional bodies". These exam sitting numbers don't support such hyperbole and look to be an ill-omen for the future financial fortunes of CPA Australia.

passedfc
Posts: 113
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 3:14 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by passedfc » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:04 pm

good analysis Wendy... like much of their numbers it does not add up...
more questions for the Councils to ask..

JWheldon
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Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by JWheldon » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:44 pm

The then President Mr Graeme Wade, in his 2016 AGM speech said

"We want every interaction with a member to build the level of loyalty, trust and respect between us.
Specifically, we have delivered a new Learning Management System to allow greater efficiency, security and ease of use.
The new LMS provides a more stable online environment for candidates. It is also allowing us to develop more digital content as we continue to evolve the CPA Program.
We delivered 59,000 CPA Program exams across 89 countries using more than 400 venues in 2015.
In just over two years we moved 75 per cent of our examinations to a computer-based testing in 2017. However, we anticipate there there will always be a need for a small number of paper based exams to provide a service to members with special needs and those in remote locations."

With this in mind. "The computer says NO."

The drive for the education business, has reduced the overall principles of the CPA program, into how much money can be earned, with reduced actual staff and more computer services.

The comments already written support the ABC four corners report in the Uni degrees. This education profit drive also appears to be the strategy at CPA Australia by Alex Malley, the board and his management team, in Australia and the overseas operations.
Quality is being reduced for quantity.
http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/ ... 217741.htm

Not_A_CPA
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Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2017 1:08 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Not_A_CPA » Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:35 am

I personally feel the cpa program is money focused rather than skills focused. I will be honest in I failed two units, both times the results for the individual sections was very high, however the final score was always 5 under the passing grade (I passed 3 units overall).

Now as a person who likes to know where they go wrong to self improve cpa we're very closed up and say the results are final. The last exam I failed I contacted two different GMs from two different states with questions based on wildly varying information provided by cpa with promises they would get back to me. 4 months I gave up. This year I get a call regarding my time running out to complete the program to which I explained the entire story. I received a verbal generic "sorry you experienced this, but you need to do what it takes to pass". Don't get me started on the validity of the content.

FYI I am a financial manager of a company limited by guarantee trading through all of Australia, report directly to a Gm who reports to a board. I am ipa with a masters. When fail rates get as high at close to 50% there is either a problem with the candidates, problem with the content and course requirements (including validity of content) or kpis to meet for revenue.

mac42
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:56 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by mac42 » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:09 pm

I've recently finished my CPA (within the last 2 yrs) and I don't think there is an issue with the difficulty level of the exams but rather the quality of the candidates that are allowed to sit. Whilst I passed all my subjects first go I don't think they were too easy, I studied hard (after work and every weekend during the semester etc) the issue is that they aren't screening candidates that probably should not be sitting in the first place.

When I sat the exams they encouraged you to sit Ethics and Governance first as it was seen as an introductory subject. I'm really shocked to see it has a fail rate of 41% in the last semester (I think it was around 30% when I sat it)! E&G was the easiest subject from memory! How is someone failing that subject ever going to pass GSL?

The other reason I know candidate quality is the issue is because during my studies I attended study groups and even did PDL for GSL. I was really shocked at the number of people I met that either could barely speak english or just had no understanding of basic accounting (either through poor undergraduate education or lack of real world application) one group I was in for Fin Reporting I ended up having to explain the basics like debit/credit, balance sheet/P&L etc!!!

If that doesn't tell you this is a money grab and is diluting the quality of our accreditation I don't know what would.

Mug
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Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:54 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Mug » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:14 pm

mac42 wrote:
Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:09 pm

When I sat the exams they encouraged you to sit Ethics and Governance first as it was seen as an introductory subject. I'm really shocked to see it has a fail rate of 41% in the last semester (I think it was around 30% when I sat it)! E&G was the easiest subject from memory! How is someone failing that subject ever going to pass GSL?

The other reason I know candidate quality is the issue is because during my studies I attended study groups and even did PDL for GSL. I was really shocked at the number of people I met that either could barely speak english or just had no understanding of basic accounting (either through poor undergraduate education or lack of real world application) one group I was in for Fin Reporting I ended up having to explain the basics like debit/credit, balance sheet/P&L etc!!!
The question is how are these candidates getting to associate member stage? Not why they failing.

Is it via the CPA foundations program in which case the issue is a CPA one, or is it via a university in which case it's primary a university issue in the 1st instance, and the joint accreditation committee in the second instance.

I've seen it at university level, failure rates are too high, therefore exams must be to hard, lower the standard. When the real issue is entry requirements are too lax, or not verified to see if real, thus accepting students who should not be accepted.

With CPA (and everyone else for that matter) outsourcing the requirements needed to become an associate what checks are in place to ensure these standards?

Time4Change
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:20 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Time4Change » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:43 am

The main thing we need to understand, CPA or CA is not university, this is what make you become a qualified professional accountant and if the candidate does not possessed the level of knowledge and experience to advance to CPA or CA, then I am all in, to hold them back. Why, because it affects the profession. We are supposed to be qualified and professional. So if they can't passed the exam, the question the candidate should ask why? In real life, its not an exam, its real business and real scenario. Sometime you work for small business owner that have sacrificed everything for that business and we are expected to perform to the best of our ability toward the business owner and toward the profession.

It was not meant to be easy, I would encourage CPA and CA to raise the standard. Think about it, you do not become a doctor like that, it take dedication, passion, sacrifice and willingness, as people life is at play. As qualified accountants whether in public practice or commercial, people life is still at play whether it is stakeholders, small business owners relying on the recommendation or work we have perform. A perfect example we have just all witness was mr malley and the current board of directors. Surely non of them understand APES110, code of ethics, the accounting and financial professional duty and responsibility, the fiduciary responsibility for being a directors, the likelihood of trust we members and the public put in their hands. So we need to raise the bar. As hash as it sounds, it is a reality. Good and excellent qualified accountants will always be in demand irrespective of whether they are CA or CPA.

Not_A_CPA
Posts: 34
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Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Not_A_CPA » Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:08 pm

Time4Change wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:43 am
The main thing we need to understand, CPA or CA is not university, this is what make you become a qualified professional accountant and if the candidate does not possessed the level of knowledge and experience to advance to CPA or CA, then I am all in, to hold them back. Why, because it affects the profession. We are supposed to be qualified and professional. So if they can't passed the exam, the question the candidate should ask why? In real life, its not an exam, its real business and real scenario. Sometime you work for small business owner that have sacrificed everything for that business and we are expected to perform to the best of our ability toward the business owner and toward the profession.

It was not meant to be easy, I would encourage CPA and CA to raise the standard. Think about it, you do not become a doctor like that, it take dedication, passion, sacrifice and willingness, as people life is at play. As qualified accountants whether in public practice or commercial, people life is still at play whether it is stakeholders, small business owners relying on the recommendation or work we have perform. A perfect example we have just all witness was mr malley and the current board of directors. Surely non of them understand APES110, code of ethics, the accounting and financial professional duty and responsibility, the fiduciary responsibility for being a directors, the likelihood of trust we members and the public put in their hands. So we need to raise the bar. As hash as it sounds, it is a reality. Good and excellent qualified accountants will always be in demand irrespective of whether they are CA or CPA.
I understand what you are saying with terms of it not meant to be easy and having a standard for those to meet to become CPA, however the issue I have is with the fail rate. This could be driven by poor selection of admitting those to sit the exams, the course material is not relevant or too much, or a bell curve for passing rates. Look at the average fail rates for other professional bodies and compare to CPA, CPA fail rates are out of the ball park. Given the real closed shop they run one could almost suggest they have a requirement to fail 12,000 members per semester, and given 30,000 people sitting, there is the 40% fail rate CPA averages (need to adjust for actual percentage so fail may be 11,000 per semester adjusted). At $1,000 average there is $12 million in resitting revenue from members. Big incentive to have a high fail rate knowing people will resit.

Call me sceptical with the legitimacy of their fail rates because their published membership growth rates don't add up, member retention numbers don't add up, and $5 million loss on $40k revenue for cpa advice was deemed to be a success. Alex Malley and some of the board were cpa qualified, shows they learnt and follow the course material they learnt

Matty
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Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 8:41 am

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Matty » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:34 am

[/quote]There is something odd about the numbers that doesn't make sense. Tyrone Carlin said in his AGM address "... over the past decade we have experienced a more than 40 per cent increase in CPA Program enrolments". He had been talking about the new member growth (35,000 in 3 years!) so you would expect that with all of the new members sitting exams and then a growing number of those new members having to re-sit exams, that the number of exams being taken would be escalating. But look at the kpi from p.18-19 in the CPA Australia 2016 Integrated Report:[/quote]

There are some questions to be answered i agree.
But there is also member growth through partnerships/ memorendum of understanding for members from international accounting bodies that become a CPAA by virtue of their prior accreditation. So some adjustments need to be made when taking member growth into consideration though.

Also having so many universities capitalise on the international student cash cow that they desperately need after massive funding cuts doesn't help. Many students coming to do a commerce or accounting degree with entry scores that a local student would not make it on does not help. But because of the almost triple fees that they pay, it is just irresistable for many universities. Some of these students shouldnt even be in the course let alone graduate with an accounting or commerce degree. The education industry is over a billion dollar industry for the australian economy.

Its kind of a perfect storm that has been brewing for a while and has been highlighted even more given the ridiculous events of late.

Andcor
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:23 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Andcor » Tue Jun 27, 2017 1:34 pm

Does anyone have questions about how they assessed CPA examinations for several candidates?

Can anyone explains why several candidates who have worked hard, took their times off work, put all their efforts in their attempt to pass a subject only to fail not once, but more than twice? I give you an example of my experience.

Attempt one: 529
Attempt two: 524
Attempt three: 524
Attempt four: 533

The required pass mark is 540. This should raise questions about the integrity and accuracy of the examination process. The score seems to be too consistent. Something is not right. Normally if someone failed first time they would make an effort to pass the second time but no further!

Scaled scoring system was introduced about four years ago including implementation of computer based examinations. That is when failure rates started to increase.

The feedback report has indicated that NO ONE have any chance to resit nor a review of examination results

There are numerous people like me who have the same problems with that. We are genuine candidates!

There are too many unanswered questions about it!

Can anyone help with it?

Not_A_CPA
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2017 1:08 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Not_A_CPA » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:09 pm

Andcor wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2017 1:34 pm
Scaled scoring system was introduced about four years ago including implementation of computer based examinations. That is when failure rates started to increase.

The feedback report has indicated that NO ONE have any chance to resit nor a review of examination results

There are numerous people like me who have the same problems with that. We are genuine candidates!

There are too many unanswered questions about it!
I remember that time, they went from weighted average to scaled scoring (or vice versa, who knows), and they did it mid-semester 1 after everyone had paid and started!!!!! Absolute joke it was. So you pay $1,000, sit a multiple choice exam, get a result and no way to go and see where you did wrong for next time had you failed. Multiple choice exams - real expression of a persons intellect and capability on a subject matter. I was relieved when I started working in the accounting industry that the SME work I was involved with didn't involve multiple choice, rather it was hands on application of the subject matter.

Biggest stickler is when you seek confirmation or clarification and they come back with a communist "results are final and we will only provide answers on specific exam questions". Well my question is about how I went on all 140 questions thanks Jim!!!!!

Some could call it sore loser syndrome, but given the rest of my academic and professional qualifications (more than listed above), and my results have been consistent all along the way until CPA gets involved, and add it on to the way CPA have treated full members when it has come to clarification on the organisational matters (think we only really know of the current issue during the last 6 months, my understanding Brett was working fairly hard at it for 12-18 months prior), one begs the question of the legitimacy of the results the organisation presents in all facets of their reporting.

Andcor
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:23 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Andcor » Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:05 pm

I checked facebook on CPA Australia to check on conversation / comments on exam and fail rates. A CPA member said that there are lot of unhappy CPA members about it. They find it very demoralising with their staff members who had failed many times for same subject. They have indicated that the system have been manipulated to fail prospective pass students. Some have said that the study material appears to be too wordy and lose important concepts. There were at least 5 conversation points from the same person. It has been removed! Does that means they knew about it and tried to cover it up by removing it? It seems to me that it is fast becoming a hot potato topic! We will watch with interest!

Dave
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:33 pm

Re: ABC - Entry exams and fail rates

Post by Dave » Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:39 pm

Andcor is right that an there should be some changes to the CPA program.

A student who studying CPA Foundations came to me last year trying to understand scaled scoring and what was going wrong as they were failing the subject.

CPA foundations marking system is very confusing and you have no idea where you have gone wrong.

It may be the case that if you answered 1 more question correctly in a category which has a higher allocation (based on the weighting) you may have passed.

It is opaque (like most things these days at CPAA) when it can be quite simple.

For example, if you get 60% you pass the subject.

The outsourcing has meant that CPAs are no longer controlling what is being taught, the way the course/exams are run etc.

Sure there are committees with lots of people on it but does it really work? As we have seen there are unnecessary committees at different levels all over the CPAA which act as a circular reference to maintain the control within a select few but gives the appearance that appropriate controls are in place.

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